The summer is almost upon us and spring has been lovely. As the days heat up we want to enjoy the outside with our fur babies but we need to make sure we’re doing the right thing, so what should we be aware of.
During the summer months Grass Seeds can be a huge problem. The seeds have pointy ends and are very sharp, like little spears or arrows, and they can easily get trapped in your puppies fur, paws, eyes, ears and other areas of the body, they burrow into the skin and in some cases can go under the skin. My dog once got one stuck in his side and I was only made aware of the problem when he was chewing at his own skin!
All dogs are at risk but especially breeds such as; Spaniels who have feathery toes or cocka/cavapoos with curly, furry hair. If your dog loves to bound through the long grass then it’s a good idea to check your dog after each walk, paying particular attention to the paws and ears, give them a comb through with your fingers too.
If your Pup is limping, licking constantly at an area, shaking their head or pawing their ears, or even experiencing a sudden onset of sneezing, this may indicate that they have been affected by a grass seed. Also look between the toes for any painful swelling.
Help your pup by keeping them nicely groomed and the hair around their paws and ears short. Check your pup over after each walk and brush through the coat with your fingers or comb and remove any seeds.
If you find any imbedded in the skin take your puppy to the vets to have the seed removed.
As the temperature rises you want to plan your walks, morning and late afternoon are the coolest hours. If you are restricted on the times that you walk your dog then try to find a cooler moment, check the floor with your hand before letting your puppy walk on it so they don’t burn their paws. If you can hold your hand on the floor for around 7 seconds then it’s fine but if it’s too hot for you Do Not expect your pup to walk on it.
Walk where there is shade, look to go to a forested area or a nice shady park. Take a bottle of water and portable bowl with you so that you can stop and take water breaks.
If your puppy has exposed skin, or on the tips of the ears and nose you can use a pet safe sun cream, but I suggest keeping them out of direct sunlight where possible.
How can we tell if our dogs are becoming dehydrated?
One sign of dehydration is loss of skin elasticity. You can check this by picking up the skin along the back into a fold, it should spring back into place. If your pup is dehydrated the skin stays up in a ridge. Check the colour of your puppies gums they will look dull and feel tacky to the touch, gums are usually pink and when you press on them they turn white for a second but if your pup is dehydrated they will stay white for longer and their mouth will feel dry. Advanced signs of dehydration are sunken eyes and your pup may collapse with shock.
When your dog is dehydrated or very thirsty, it’s too easy to let them gulp down excessive amounts of water at once, but this can have a detrimental effect as they are likely to bring it back up. Hydrate slowly, give your dog ice to lick rather than letting them take large gulps of water. In more extreme cases where there is continuous and severe bouts throwing up and/or diarrhoea you can give your dog an electrolyte mixed in water, which will be more effective than plain water at replenishing the body.
Heatstroke is very dangerous and in some cases can kill your puppy.
At first you will notice your puppy panting more than usual. They will become uncomfortable and agitated, and after a short time it may become difficult for them to breath and they may start drooling. Look out for their eyes appearing glassy and their gums turning to a dark red colour.
You need to try and get their body temperature down because if not it could rise the a point where the cell death in the brain results in seizures, coma and ultimately death.
Catching the heatstroke in the early stages will help to save your puppy. Cool your puppy down by taking them to the coolest place you can find, apply cool wet towels or water to the head, chest, neck and paws. This will gradually lower your puppies temperature without causing shock to their system. Once your puppy is stable take them straight to your vets.
We all know that ticks are a big danger all year round but during the summer they are rife.
Ticks are Egg shaped and have eight legs looking smilier to spiders, they are blood suckers and range from around 1mm to 1cm long. Ticks are most commonly found in woodland, and grassy heath areas where you would find lots of wildlife like sheep and deer, on rare occasions you could find them in your garden.
Unlike fleas, ticks don’t jump they crawl and rest in areas so that animals are easy to access as they brush past.
Check your puppy for ticks after each walk especially after walks or trips through wooded areas.
You can usually feel the ticks, they feel like a lump or a bump on the skin, they’re harder to find in thicker coats. Pay particular attentions to the head, neck, ears and between the toes.
If they have not attached yet then you can remove them by brushing. If they have embedded then removal can be tricky, do not squeeze the ticks body because they will burrow deeper, and try not to leave the head in your pups body. Squeezing can also cause infection if blood is expelled back into the body.
The best method of removal is by twisting them off quickly with your fingers or using a tick removal device to twist and pull.
If you are uncomfortable doing this then take your puppy straight to the vets, also if your pup becomes tired, feverish or lame because ticks carry a number of diseases.
Tick and fleas treatment are recommended. Options are; spot on treatments, tablets and collars are available, speak with your vet about which is the most suitable for your puppy.
Humans can also be bitten by Ticks so check your clothing when you get home, tuck trousers into your socks or wear high socks, also wearing sleeved tops can help.
Remove in the same way your would with you puppy.
Humans and dogs can catch Lyme disease from ticks, so if you feel unwell, have muscle, joint pain, fatigue or get a circular rash around the bite see your doctor.